Ashley Hale, LCSW – Dec. 10, 2019
regular school attendance is one of the most powerful ways you can prepare your
child for success in school and in life.
An estimated 5 to 7.5 million students miss 18 or more days of a school
year, which averages two days per month.
challenges are unavoidable, such as illness or family emergencies. However, it’s important to be aware of the
impact absences from school can have, especially if they are frequent.
attendance sets your child up for a strong future by assisting them with better
grades, healthier life habits, the ability to avoid dangerous behaviors, feeling
more connected to the community, developing important social skills and friendships,
and giving them a better chance for graduation.
You can help
your child prepare for a lifetime of success by teaching them to make school
attendance a priority. If your child is struggling
to attend school, the first step is to understand the depth of the problem, whether
physical or emotional.
There are many
common reasons children do not want to go to school, such as academic struggles,
trouble with bullies, family separation anxiety, and family challenges at home.
It can be difficult to understand why some children avoid school or do not want
to leave home.
are some ways you can help eliminate chronic absenteeism:
- Make getting to
school on time every day a high priority. Make it an expectation. Talk with
your child about the importance of showing up to school every day as well as
the negative effects of too many absences.
- Create a safe space
for your child to share what is keeping them from participating in school on a
regular basis. Find out if your child feels engaged in their classes and feels
safe while at school. Be aware of their social contacts. Peer pressure can
often lead to skipping school, while students without many friends may feel
- Have a back-up
plan for getting your child to school when there are difficulties with
transportation, family illness, or other challenges.
- Schedule doctor
and other appointments for after-school hours whenever possible. Don’t let your child stay home unless truly
sick. Common occurrences of headache or stomach ache may be a sign of anxiety.
- Monitor your
child’s school attendance to make sure they are in class every day.
- Contact your child’s
school to discuss support services that can help them maintain regular school
attendance. Know the school’s attendance policy. Talk to their teachers if you
notice sudden changes in behavior and ask them to contact you if they notice
- Encourage your
child to participate in afterschool activities, including sports and clubs.
Being involved in extra-curricular activities is a great way to feel more
involved in the school and to make new friends.
As a parent,
you are on the front line of an attendance problem. The good news is that it is
possible to change things for the better and increase the chances for